[Tutor] python mechanize - clicking javascript button

James jtp at nc.rr.com
Wed Jun 25 03:32:30 CEST 2008


I'm having a bit of a problem and am hoping that someone can assist (I
realize this may be slightly off-topic, but I haven't found a good
place to post this question, so... ;))

I'm writing a script to interact with a website. There's a form
similar to the following in the website:

<form name="form" method="post" action="push.do">

	<input type="button" name="button" value="delete"
onclick="javascript:delete();" class="button">


Everything in this form is sent to the server and push.do is the
script that runs in the backend. There is *one* button, however, will
change the action on the form to "delete.do", as can be seen in the
javascript function definition below:

function delete()
  document.form.action = "delete.do";

Seems simple enough, right?

When I use mechanize and print the form that I'm working with
(name="form"), I see the following:

>>> br.select_form(name="form")
>>> print br.form
<form POST delete() application/x-www-form-urlencoded
  <HiddenControl(number=2321) (readonly)>
  <HiddenControl(sessionIdentification=115) (readonly)>
  <TextControl(string=Hello World)>
  <SelectControl(code=[ code1, *code2, code3, code4, code5])>
  <SelectControl(codeClass=[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, *7, 8])>
  <SubmitControl(button=Commit) (readonly)>

The only other button on this form is "Commit", which apparently
results in a POST to "push.do". The javascript "delete" button is the
*only* entity in the form that POSTs to delete.do.

The Python mechanize website states that in this situation the best
thing to do is set up a POST to the web server (since mechanize cannot
interpret javascript).

A few things boggle me:
a) When submitting the form, how do I deal with cookies? I'm unsure
about how to pass the web tool the appropriate cookie (I'm not even
sure the web server wants a cookie in the first place)

b) Do I have to pass *all* the values listed in the "print br.form"?
If not, then how do I figure out what precisely the server "requires"
from a POST? (TamperData seems to indicate that most of the stuff is
sent to the server on *either* button click, but I'm not sure...is
there a better way to find out?)

d) Is POST my only option, or is there a simpler way? I realize the
only thing the javascript snippet is doing is changing the "form
action" from push.do to delete.do...seems like something simple enough
to change without writing code to set up a POST. (I've tried, but have
not had any success, unfortunately). Can I "modify" the "form"? (how
would I go about modifying br.form, anyways?)


I found a website that explains how to set up a POST in Python using
urllib2, below:

It structures the post as follows:

url = 'http://www.example.com'

values = {'key1' : 'value1',
          'key2' : 'value2',
          'key3' : 'value3',

    data = urllib.urlencode(values)
    req = urllib2.Request(url, data)
    response = urllib2.urlopen(req)
    the_page = response.read()
    print the_page

except Exception, detail:
    print "Err ", detail

Is this the best way to set up a POST? (by configuring a dictionary
with all the values that are required for the post?) I believe the
last time I tried doing this the server returned a 501 error.

Any thoughts *greatly* appreciated!

- j

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